Individual and Group Opportunities
Note: Although World Relief Durham is a refugee resettlement agency, we have a vision of reaching all 160,000 newcomers (or foreign-born people) living in the Triangle. Therefore, we are in the process of modifying the S.E.R.V.E. Toolkit so that it can assist volunteers working with the greater newcomer community. However, some of the resources do apply strictly to refugees and refugee resettlement. Volunteers will see the word “refugee” when a sentence applies only to refugees, and “newcomer” when the sentence applies to the greater newcomer community.
An individual volunteer or volunteer group’s involvement in the following opportunities allows him/her/them and a newcomer family to create personal, mutually beneficial relationships.
An individual volunteer:
As an individual, you may choose to volunteer in any of these areas with a newcomer on a consistent basis.
A volunteer group: Good Neighbor Team (GNT):
A volunteer group can be involved by forming a Good Neighbor Team (GNT), which involves a group of 4-10 individuals (roughly) committing to serve a newcomer(at least) once a week for six months. The team would do a skills assessment of their own talents, and sign up to participate in whichever of the following activities match their passions and skill sets. (Note: A GNT is not required to participate in all of the activities).
List of volunteer opportunities for both an individual and a GNT:
1. Academic tutoring:
Volunteers can tutor and offer homework help to newcomer students after school or during the summer. Volunteer groups or local Churches could initiate a consistent tutoring program.
2. Grocery Store Field Trips:
Grocery store field trips: Volunteers bring groups of newcomers to the local grocery store and teach them how to shop on a budget.
3. Employment workshops/Employment Tutoring:
Volunteers can use their networks (work, school, friends, church, etc.) and guidance from WRD to recruit employers to do interviews at an employment workshop for newcomers looking for jobs. Additionally, job skills, mock interviews and resume building can be offered to newcomers from other volunteers at the class. Volunteers can also work one-on-one with individuals who need jobs and assist them in the applicationprocess, mock interviews and driving to actual interviews.
4. ESL classes:
Volunteers can gather groups of newcomers together and teach them English.
5. Bus system training sessions:
Volunteers can gather a group of newcomers together and teach them how to navigate the bus system. This would allow newcomers to visit places such as the grocery store, library, etc.
6. Donation drives:
Volunteers can ask WRD staff about major material needs and host a volunteer drive at their local church, business, etc.
7. Financial literacy classes/one-on-one tutoring:
WRD can provide volunteers with information for teaching newcomers basic financial literacy, how to use a bank account, budgeting, etc.
8. Healthy food cooking classes/one-on-one tutoring:
Volunteers can work with groups of newcomers, potentially in someone’s apartment, and teach them how to cook healthy recipes on a budget.
9. Soccer tournaments:
Volunteers can organize an apartment-wide soccer tournament in order to form relationships with newcomers.
10. Clothing Closet and Warehouse cleaning:
WRD stores many of its donation items in a clothing closet and a warehouse, which are often in need of organization. Volunteer groups can offer their time by cleaning and organizing these spaces.
11. Pre-arrival Donations Gathering:
Volunteers assist in gathering donations to furnish a newly-arrived refugee/refugee family’s apartment. A list of these specific donation needs is found here. Items 1-5 are required to furnish a house. (Note: A volunteer is not responsible for obtaining all of these donations for a refugee’s apartment, but is encouraged to donate whatever he/she is able).
12. Grocery Shopping:
Donate groceries for a newly arrived individual or family’s pantry. Needed grocery items are found here.
13. Apartment Set-up Assistant:
Assist our resource manager in physically moving the furniture and household items (using our provided box truck) into a refugees’ new apartment upon his/her arrival.
14. Warm Meal Provider:
Provide newly-arrived refugees with their first warm meal.
16. Conversation Partner:
Tutor a newcomer 1-2 times per week using resources provided by World Relief
17. Appointment Assistant:
Provide transportation for newcomers to various appointments and assist newcomers in acquiring bank accounts, social security cards, and state IDs.
18. Transportation Familiarity Assistant:
Familiarize newcomers with bus systems and other modes of transportation
19. Education Assistant:
Help children get enrolled in schooling, familiarize parents with school systems and local libraries and assist children with homework.
20. Finance Assistant:
Teach newcomers about currency, balancing budgets, writing checks and setting up bank accounts
21. Health Assistant:
- Explain to newcomer different healthcare options (when to go to the ER, Urgent Care and Health Department)
- Show basic medicinal options at drugstores and explain how to use them
- Coach newcomer in nutrition and grocery shopping
- Tutor newcomers during Health Classes at 11 a.m. on Friday mornings at the World Relief office
22. Employment Coach
- Assist newcomers with obtaining and completing job applications
- Familiarize newcomers with interview process and building resumes
- Tutor refugee clients during Job Classes, Fridays at 10 a.m., at the World Relief office
23. Childcare Provider
- Provide childcare for refugee clients during Health classes (Fridays 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.)
- Provide childcare for refugee clients during Job classes (Fridays 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.)
Other Volunteer Opportunities:
Outside of relationship-building and ESL opportunities, we also need volunteers to help meet clerical needs.
1. Warehouse Organizer
- Move furniture within the warehouse and sort donations.
2. Clothing Closet Organizer
- Sort clothing donations for refugees to obtain clothing
Not able to commit to a hands-on, relational volunteer opportunity? Join our prayer team and pray for our refugees and the greater newcomer community for 15 minutes each week. Learn more by visiting our website’s prayer page.